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One Foot In the Grave

Posted on Tue Feb 21st, 2023 @ 11:10pm by Commodore Tyler Malbrooke & Lieutenant JG Gage Tohoyia
Edited on on Wed Mar 1st, 2023 @ 1:06am

1,360 words; about a 7 minute read

Mission: Episode 13 - Crooked River
Location: Captain's Ready Room - Deck 1 - USS Pioneer
Timeline: MD007 1330 hrs

Gage tugged at his uniform. The computer insisted that it was the right size but it always felt like it was riding up and he was always pulling it back down. In reality, he hadn't work the official uniform much in the past few months. But he couldn't hardly show up to meet the captain with a shaggy head of hair and dirty clothes. He waved his hand in front of the door sensor, crossed his hands in front of him and waited to be summoned in.

The last mission and everything that happened with the Romulans opened Tyler's eyes up to many things. Not the least of which was that the Empire was alive and well, and trying to get the ball rolling on a lot of things. Tyler spent some time speaking with his Second Officer and Chief Intel about how to proceed. When the Romulans were involved it meant nothing was as it seemed. The name Gage Tohoyia came up during their talk and how he was in need of a new assignment. Rowena suggested that add an Infiltration Specialist to the department and that brought Tyler to where he was now. About one minute before the door chime rang a note appeared on his screen from Sofia, Lieutenant Tohoyia was on his way in.

The door chimed right on schedule. "Come on in." He said his Oklahoma accent ringing through. As Gage entered the room Tyler poured two cups of coffee from his ever-present carafe.

"Sir, Lieutenant JG Tohoyia, reporting as ordered," Gage said, standing at attention. He took in the room around him, noting that it was more spacious than he'd expected. His two other ship-based postings had been on much larger ships than the Pioneer. He still wasn't exactly sure why he was being assigned hear and, when he didn't know things, he tended to be more on guard.

"Ah yes Lieutenant. Welcome aboard the Pioneer please have a seat. Can I get you anything?" Tyler hoped to put the other man at ease. At the moment it seemed like he thought he was in some kind of trouble. "I wanted to start off by saying thank you for getting our people back. I know that it cost you a very lengthy and involved undercover operation."

Gage shook his head. "I'll pass on the drink, sir. It has been a long day and I'm afraid anything would put me to sleep," Gage said as he sat. "And, yes, the loss of the undercover mission was a little disappointing, sir, but I had no choice. I couldn't let fellow Starfleet personnel just languish in a torture prison. I will admit, that I was surprised to be posted onboard the Pioneer though. Not that there is anything wrong with her."

"Starfleet has seen to it that our mission will now have us traveling between sectors. Thanks to the QSD this is possible. We will still be working from Empok Nor to assist the Cardassians as has always been our mission. However, now we will also be dealing with the upheaval in Romulan space, as well as the Jutrai. Since you have been undercover for so long the fleet deems you an expert on the Romulans. We will never know if or when we need your expertise or your skills. So here you are. I hope that you don't mind me scooping you up as it were." Tyler took a sip from his ever-present mug of rachtijino after he spoke. He wanted Gage to be happy with the transfer, as sudden as it was.

Gage thought it over for a moment. What the Captain said made sense, especially if there was going to be more contact with Romulans. He'd learned a lot from his eight months undercover and didn't want all that work to go to waste. "Well, sir, when you put it that way I can understand why HQ transferred me over here. But do you have any other duties in mind for me? Or does the ship need an infiltration specialist for other missions? I'm eager to help but I can't also help but feel that I am a little fish out of water, sir."

"Our Intelligence Department is a fully integrated department into the ship. All of our Intelligence officers work other roles on the ship. Commander McGowen is our Second Officer. However, for you, I have something in mind. I would like to appoint you as our Diplomatic Officer. I believe your knowledge of people and their subtleties would be invaluable in that position. You can also gain information that would be pertinent when we need it. Of course, this would all depend upon whether you would like the job." Tyler had looked over Gage's record and after the reports of what he did on the surface of Igion he knew he had the right man for the job. The question was if the young Infiltration Specialist would rise to the occasion.

The setup wasn't unique. Gage knew of a number of colleagues who operated on ships and had multiple duties. Gage knew that he couldn't be out in the field, undercover, all the time. "I'm more than happy to take on any role that you ask, sir," he said and paused for a moment. "I'm fairly well versed on Cardassian, Romulan and Human politics. If we ran into any other species, I could probably fake my way through most things until I had a chance to do a thorough case study of their diplomatic customs."

Tyler laughed. "Yes indeed, fake it until you make it. It is good that you are versed in Cardassian politics. Our port of call is in the Trivas System and we often have to deal with our Cardassian friends. I believe that the best place to start there is to introduce yourself to Gul Markuul. He is the Commanding Officer of the Cardassian Defense Fleet. Learning as much as you can about a Romulan Ambassador named Loval would be helpful as well. He has just sort of turned up out of nowhere and I for one would like to get a head start on learning what he is up to."

Gage took in the information, filing it all away for further research in the SFI databases. "Aye, sir. I will get started with filling in the blanks. By the time we reach the Trivas System, I am sure I will be ready to accomplish what you need. I'll also look into my Romulan contacts and see if any other information about Ambassador Loval is floating around," Gage said.

"Excellent and on a more personal note I wanted to thank you for joining the Pioneer. I know that this assignment is not one that is at the top of the list for someone with your skill set. I hope in due time you can find this ship to be home." Tyler knew more than most how the fleet could upend your life. He wanted to make sure that Gage knew that the Pioneer was not stepping backward on the career path.

"Thank you, sir. I try not to worry about things I can't control. I'm here now and I'll be focused on how to help you and the Pioneer any way I can. As for the home, well, that will take some time but I'll settle in soon enough. Is there anything else I can do for you, sir? If not, I have a lot of reading to do to be ready," Gage said.

"No Lieutenant welcome aboard and welcome to the family. Dismissed." When Gage left Tyler smirked at the closed door and then sipped his coffee. It seemed that his crew continued to grow as needs arise. It meant no matter to the Captain. As the country boy in him always thought the more the merrier.

A Joint Post By

Commodore Tyler Malbrooke
Commanding Officer, USS Pioneer

Lieutenant Junior Grade Gage Tohoyia
Infiltration Specialist, USS Pioneer


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